Reasons to consider divorce

Reasons to consider divorce

The divorce rate in America is one of the highest in the world (over 50 percent). But the divorce rate of Muslims in North America is almost as high, according to New York based sociologist Ilyas Ba-Yunus.

Yes, it's true. Muslims today are divorcing in larger numbers than before. There are clearly problems within families that have not been addressed: dysfunction, miscommunication, and in a number of cases violence and abuse.

But while Muslims are taking this step in larger numbers, what does Islam have to say about it?

The Islamic perspective on divorce

"Divorce is something that is very much discouraged in Islam," explains Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

"It is called, according to one of the Hadith of the Prophet Sal Allahu alayhi wa Sallam (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 'the most hateful thing that is permissible.'"

This stance discouraging divorce needs to be seen in a balanced way, notes Siddiqi.

"It has to be used very carefully," he says.

What are some legitimate reasons for a couple to consider divorce?

There are definitely valid reasons Muslim men and women can seek divorce.

"One legitimate reason is if there is immoral behavior, unIslamic behavior on the part of a spouse," says Siddiqi. "If a spouse is involved in that, then there is a breakdown."

"For example if one of the spouses, God forbid, is involved in adultery or fornication. In that case, they have a right to separate and this is a legitimate ground for separation."

Another valid reason for divorce is apostasy on the part of either spouse. If a Muslim man or woman's spouse leaves Islam, Siddiqi says the marriage is null and void and the couple can no longer be together.

Abdalla Idris Ali is a member of ISNA's executive body and former president of the organization. He adds to the list of legitimate reasons for seeking divorce dishonesty prior to marriage.

For instance, if a husband told his wife before marriage that he did not consume alcohol or drugs and she discovers after marriage that he is an alcoholic or drug addict.

Some other reasons are:

  • a woman was married before and she did not tell her husband
  • a woman marries man and he is impotent, and she finds out after marriage.
  • cruelty
  • a man's inability or refusal to support his wife
  • a wife's refusal to live with her husband or be with him.
  • if one of the spouses is unable to have conjugal relations
  • one spouse feels repulsion towards the other.

Ali, however, cautions against jumping to divorce quickly and adds that every case has to be looked at individually.

"It is one thing to speak about a ruling. It is another thing to speak about a judgement in a certain case," he says in an interview with Sound Vision and

"If you ask me now, what is the ruling in Islam for a young man who commits Zina (adultery and fornication)? I'll tell you Allah says, give him 100 lashes. This is what the Quran says."

"But you bring me a man and say, this man committed Zina. I'm not going just to give him 100 lashes. This is a case. I have to investigate it, to see whether he did it, you cannot just go and apply the rule."

Illegitimate reasons to seek divorce

Along with legitimate reasons for seeking divorce, Siddiqi and Ali also point to those that are not so acceptable.

Siddiqi gives the example of a husband not liking the way a wife cooks or dresses.

"One should not expect perfection on the part of the spouse because nobody's perfect except Allah and His Messenger. Everybody has shortcomings," he says in an interview with Sound Vision from his home in Orange County, California.

"One should have willingness to sacrifice some of the things," he adds. "This is how the family is established, how it becomes a better family.

Another reason that should not be grounds for divorce is just moodiness on the part of a spouse, says Ali.

What can couples do to avoid divorce?

Siddiqi recommends the following steps to couples who are in difficulty:

1. Both spouses should have the fear of Allah. They should remember that if they are unfair to their spouse, they will be judged on their behavior by Allah.
2. They should try to resolve the problem amongst themselves, then within family members
3. They should not hesitate to involve other members of the community. For instance, they should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to meet and speak with their local Imam (if he is someone fair and trustworthy to the husband and the wife).
4. Seek counseling, preferably from a Muslim counselor. If that is not possible than from a non-Muslim counselor. However, they should be aware of Islamic guidelines so they can take advice from that which is in line with Islamic values.

"As physically we can get sick, our relations also can get sick sometimes," says Siddiqi. "The sooner we take care of this problem the better. We should not prolong it. We should resolve the differences as soon as possible and as much as possible. But when problems go on and on, then the wounds will grow."

Siddiqi recommends Muslim couples draft a prenuptial agreement and specify that all conflicts in marriage should be resolved Islamically and in the case of divorce, this process, if it happens, is also handled in a manner in line with Islamic guidelines.


This was an informative article. My worries however are different. While divorce has been nonexistent in my family, I fear my sister in law and brother may split. The young couple have been married for 6+ years, my brothers work started suffering. It seems that the wife doesn't like to be separated from him. and although she works intermittently, but she minds his absence and would call continuously to seek his attention.
My brother lived with my mother and despite all care to make room for this beautiful young addition in the family the wife didn't like to partake in sharing any responsibility of her household. The house belonged to my brother that she was very proud of but my mother does all the work and even manages and pays any servants that they employ. The wife only cooks if she has to send food to her brother or mother that live on 2 minutes walking distance....though she's prefer my mother to share her meals with her daughter in laws family. Earlier in the marriage if ever there had been a domestic tiff between the couple she would become severely sick. for the first three years of the marriage she was hospitalised thrice for a rare spinal pain and insisted on going abroad for operation. My brother begged and used up all of his resources for fend for her medical treatment. surprisingly, whenever visiting the physician, she insisted on seeing him alone and made the husband wait outside.
The wife was also a social outcast as far as the family and the extended family were concerned. my mum did all the entertaining on religious festivals birthdays etc. but even when friends and family would come by for a visit, she liked to stay in her room and not even say hello. she is only social and happy with her woman also. she is mistrustful of every relation and friend of her husbands and believes in black magic, making her husband wear emblems etc. My mum is above 65 years of age and a very active woman.whenever my mother got sick she would leave home and eat mother would go hungry.
On parties and social occasions she would make sure her husband sticks by and doesn't communicate with others.
My brothers wife shared the financial accounts with her husband and made my brother asks her for money all the time. he became miserly and never spent money on his family but only his wife and her family.
The wife also declared that she didn't want any children and wanted to work as a television actor. but unfortunately though she worked and my brother employed her in all the dramas he directed, she didn't attract much work and prominence. perhaps as a result of this we saw her as becoming more critical of her husband...taking credit for his achievements and bringing him down for most that he does. My brother is university qualified in his line of work while she couldn't complete her high schooling. after the marriage the family encouraged her to finish school and go to the university but she didn't. pls do not get me wrong, my brother's wife is a pleasant women when she likes and tries to find and discuss information on various topics. she is also not dull. However, she comes from a broken family and has lived in isolation with her grannie and later her mother who was a full time working woman who failed to encourage her son or daughter to finish school and be productive.
finally, though my brother and mum cook an care for her she remains jealous of anyone who share his time and on one occasion even asked my brother to swallow battery acids to prove his love. Sadly enough, my brother did so and remained in hospital for a week unable to eat for a mother thereafter.
recently she tried to make him miserable by asking for a divorce...left the house for three months, during which she presented him with shoddy divorce papers and calling incessantly pressurising him to agree to a divorce...while he resisted and when the friends and family convinced my brother that it was the right choice, she said she was also kidding and that she wanted to be more responsible and wanted to apologise to the family.
during the 4 month separation, surprisingly, my brother's work picked up he has two new jobs that he is working on and he bought a new car as well. All family and friends are begging him to get rid of his toxic relationship.
He agrees but with a heavy heart. I wonder if this is a right choice...



Salaam I am married but am working abroad for the last 6 years. My husband lives in London. He is disabled but continues to smoke ignoring my requests that he needs to stop. I am fed up of livung a single life abroad and only go home for
2 months. I still care for him and we love togeher but do not have any close realtionship as he has his own bedroom downstairs. Please tell me what to do.



I’ve been with my husband for just over 3 years. We have two kids but in them 3 years he has been very difficult to be with, he would drink alcohol and do drugs than spend time with me and the kids. His family have given up on him and tbh I feel exhausted with him too. He doesn’t work nor wants too, he’s a grown man who doesn’t want to provide and gets very short tempered when he wants and would hit me few times. He doesn’t want to change his ways and whenever we argue his parents give me reasons why I can’t leave him saying I’m young and no one would want to marry someone who’s already been married or that a women can’t divorce her husband as it has to come out from him. I really want to live a stress free life away from him but he doesn’t want to go. I honestly don’t know what to do and I have led into depression cause of all the problems we are having.



Please leave him. You deserve better; never believe the beliefs that others try to inflict upon you. Allah wants you happy- not this.






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I am 27 years old and i married this man who is 42. I am a second wife, but let me tell you i do not know how it all happened. I am young, educated, and have travelled the world. Met this man the day before coming to the USA, we became very close over the phone as he lived in Africa. I thought i liked him, he invited me to Morocco and we slept together ( i was a virgin) when that happened i figured he had to marry me because of the culture and shame marrying someone else would bring. He hit me then, and the second time we met he hit me again, a month after my wedding he hit me again. I do not want to be with , i deserve to be treated better, i feel nothing for him and feel like i will end up committing adultery. At the same time i am scared of what people will say, i have been married for only 4 months. I am miserable, suicidal and depressed. What do i do ? I eill ne finishing my degree and going back to him in Africa, he can not wait to see me pregnant and i do not want to bring a child into this !



Please read the book of Bancroft Lundy "why does he do that" or Mackenzie "Psychopath-free". It will give you the most important knowledge now. You have to avoid the paint of bad relationship more, than you avoid what people can say

You should seek forgiveness to Allah. Firstly, I am not Alim neither Mufti, but according to Islam you have rights to take decision of your own. Under Islamic Shariah.


Karachi Pakistan

I married a man of my choice. after married I find out that he was dating other ladies out then after that he grave to the USA and I was one day fide up with the all situation n decided to leave to my he promise me that he is change but am afriad I may b wasting my time waiting for his return but he may be the same play boy.



Actually I am now going through the toughest time if life from last three years.The problem is with my husband.we had an affair marriage.After marriage I came to know he loves to mingle with so many ladies both from social media or from official communication vitually.He tries to help them,kept in touch with them or spent time with them over phone or by chatting in all meesanger connection like whatsapp/viber.gradually I thought it might be a sin to suspected your own husband whom you loved most.later after 1.5 yeras of marriage I understood its not normal and I finally protest and earged complain to his mother when my son was 3/4months old.He seems happy with me but parallely he liked to give his personal times with others.he loves to spdnd time with his male friends/calluges according to his own style but it didn't bother me at all.whenever I asked him from my marriage yera 2008;why did he need to share his time or company with other ladies?I wanted to make it clear from him,wasn't he happy or didst he feel comfort with me?most of the time he left the room or became shouting and bit me without explanation.I got frustrated and upset but I didn't quit and started hiding his abusive nature from others.on the contrary I was compromising coz it was tough for me to live without him and I had a believe upon myself and my love.
but don't know Allah s plan or my fate...he cintionuesly taking the opportunities of this my patience and making me fool or what god knows.let me inform you we had a normal sexual life but sometimes he didn't feel to do it and after my sons birth I was unable for fewer months to involved in it frequently.any way in 2015 he strted talking with friends sister which was quiet objectionable as he was making rift with me,became aggressive,abusive and adament whenever I protested.gradually we departed.he caught red handed and proved me wrong to his whole family m.7months I observed him in this relation and I left the house iin july 2015.after thar again he took me in 2016 and started new life for our son.again he caught by talking eith several girls inculding that girl,friends sister specially.gradually again we departed and again I got pregnant in November 2016.he was happy but didn't feel comfortable with me like before.he tortured me mentally which has no reason or explanation.only he knows why...later my son died in April 2017.again he caught in chatting with that girl.I just becane quit.and tried to know why he did it agagain.
its not that I didn't shout or misbehaved orvr reacted with him ever.I'm a human being.. but tried my level best to hold him by love,loyalty y request or by requiting his whole family and so many good me I told him to leave this habit foe sake of Allah and for our sons better ment.but his statement was its not illigal or sin to talk to girls as he is not having sex. he is just having pletenic relationship....
anyway sometimes I became so sususpictive and of late he quit communications under the same roof fron August 2017.aagin he left me and declared to hv a silent relation only for my son.I also living that life but day by day It was unbeareable to lead a life like widow being married. he used to backbiting all the time to whole society by telling me suspicious...and he is just bearing me only for son and parents. bur he not gonna communicate with me at I m with my family from December 2017.he declared he not gonna keeo in touch with me or my son.he repeatedly telling I'm wrong and Allah will punish me.let me tell u I offered him to go abroad under this cirmumstances.but neither he gonna divorce or not gonna give us a good life.
what sgould I do now??I need my sons better future.I want to seettle in abroad...
sujjesr me..




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